Evaluating Excess (Focus 1 of 4)

Focus 1 | Evaluating Excess

Excess is not “more than you can handle.” Excess is “more than you need.”
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight:
What is your favorite seasoning?

Once you've broken the ice, get into the idea of this Spotlight with another question, this one about inadvertent hoarders. Use the clip below for this.

(And welcome, by the way! It's great that you're here!) 
See what this Spotlight—and series—is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 1" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
Before you leave the Welcome section of this Spotlight, one more thing...
Welcome Perspective: Somewhere in between "too much" and "too little" you may just find “enough.”      
Spend $100 on candy—right now.
Not really, of course, but imagine you were nine years old again and you were given a $100 bill while walking into a candy store.

Discuss what would have happened in this scenario with your group. Be specific.
  • What would have happened over the next 30 minutes?
  • What about the 30 minutes after that?
  • (And the 30 minutes after that?)

Human beings seem given to excess.
  • We hate saying no to having more. 
  • We are immediately weary of any limitations. 
  • If there were no negative consequences, we’d eat/drink/buy/consume ourselves into oblivion. 
Understand this: God has nothing to do with “excess.”
Psalm 145 praises God for satisfying the desires of every living thing. Notice, though, that it doesn’t praise him for indulging the wants of every living thing.

Read the Psalm responsively - you’ll have to decide on a way to divide into two groups.

The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might,
so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Psalm 145:9–16
God always knows exactly when enough is enough, and he wants to provide you with exactly that. More or less than enough is not the helpful or loving thing to give you—so it is not his goal.
Rethink the way God satisfies and what he’s doing when he does.
“Too Good” by Jess Ray—a song we’ll listen to in a minute—was inspired by this C.S. Lewis quote:

“The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.”

C.S. Lewis
Lyrics from Too Good by Jess Ray

It is not as we’ve seen, it is not as we’ve read, it is not as they’ve said.
How we need to forget! We need to reset and be like children again.
Are you hungry and have no money? You can sit at this table.
Are you thirsty and unworthy? You can draw from this well.

Are you weak, are you poor, are you wanting for more in the quiet of your heart?
To yourself, you say, I wish someone would pass my way and give me a new start.
Sweetheart, stop cutting your sweet arms—no hope—smoking dope, and drinking your life away.
Let’s dance and sing, let’s eat from the tree; come down to the river with me.

It may be too good to be understood, but it’s not too good to be true.
It may be too good to be understood, but it’s not too good to be true.

From the dust we came, to the dust we all will go.
We brought nothing with us, we’ll take nothing on—heaven knows.
Keep in mind: it’ll take a little time, but darlin’ you’re gonna find where you came from.
Don’t let your eyes deceive your heart; believe the best is yet to come.

It may be too good to be understood, but it’s not too good to be true.
It may be too good to be understood, but it’s not too good to be true.
It may be too good to be understood, but it’s not too good to be true.

He may be too good to be understood, but he’s not too good to be.
Worship Perspective: The universe could have been bigger, but God made it just right for you.
Learn Perspective: Like moths to a light, the pain comes when you can’t tell how much is too much.
Compare the McMansion and the Tiny House.

Take a look at two articles—an article on houses that are too big vs an article on houses that are too small.


The concept of tiny homes—their pros, cons, and community impact—will be a major aspect of the Serve sections in this series. If you’re aware of a particular story or resource about the effectiveness of tiny homes, please send it to kent@illume.church.
Find the answers to this quiz about the history of the LIHI.

The Low Income Housing Institute is leading the effort toward tiny home communities in the Seattle area.

Learn more about the LIHI’s work by visiting the about page on their website and finding the answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the name of the first self-managed transitional housing program in the country for homeless people? (Which was started by LIHI.)
  2. What is the name of the downtown hygiene center LIHI started working on in 1994 and was finally able to open in 2000?
  3. What Lutheran congregation did LIHI partner with for the tiny home village on 22nd & Union?
  4. Finally, how do you feel about tiny house villages? You’ll have the chance to learn a lot about them over the course of this series, but what’s your current impression?
Feel free to submit a prayer request by filling out the below form.
(If you choose to make your request public, you'll see it display in the Current at the end of the Spotlight along with anyone else who did the same.)

Prayer Requests

Pray through your requests—together—as a group.

  1. Subdivide into groups of three. 
  2. Each person in through group should share one reflection that struck them/applied to them from this Spotlight.
  3. Then one of the three should pray for everyone based on those reflections.
  4. If there is something particular going on in your life that you’d like to ask for prayers about, feel free to share that, too!
Serve Perspective: Excess’s extremes have left us with not nearly enough love to share.

What gets talked about this week? 

Think back over the Spotlight. 
  • Are there things that were brought up that inform conversations you’re already having? 
  • Are there questions that the world is asking that might be asked by the information you just had the opportunity to consider? 
  • Are there parts of this Spotlight that you think might apply to conversations you’ll have this week? 

If the answer to any of these is yes, share your thoughts on them with those in your Spotlight Community. We’ll all be better prepared to be thoughtful conversation partners if we can think ahead a little! 
Sing along with (or listen to) this song to close out this Spotlight.
Feel free to sing along or simply listen. Do what makes you comfortable—but do whatever helps you focus on the song's meaning best.
Farewell Perspective: Forget “not enough”—too often, a person has too much to get by.
Let's wrap things up by taking a look at what's Current at Illume.

Tap on the buttons in the frame below to see what’s currently happening at Illume—information on everything from current and upcoming online content to live events and opportunities to serve in the community can all be found here.                          

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